Dairy foods are rich in nutrients. Dollar for dollar, dairy foods continue to make sense.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) encourage all Americans to increase intakes of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products to the recommended daily amounts:
- 2 cups for children 2 to 3 years
- 2.5 cups for children 4 to 8 years
- 3 cups for those 9 years and older
On average, Americans are currently consuming about two dairy servings per day. Adding one more serving of dairy can help fill some of America’s nutrient gaps. Milk is the number one food source for three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Dare to compare these dairy facts:
It takes 3 cups of cooked broccoli to equal the calcium in 1 cup of milk.
An 8-ounce serving of low-fat plain yogurt contains 490 milligrams of potassium; about the same as a banana. An ounce of hard cheese contains 8 grams of protein; an egg contains 6 grams.
According to the DGA, individuals who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults, so it is especially important that young children establish the habit of drinking milk. Milk and milk product intake is linked to improved bone health in both children and adolescents.